Elsewhere for December 18, 2016

You should read this for 12/18/2016:

Via The New York Post The chilling stories behind Japan’s ‘evaporating people’“Of the many oddities that are culturally specific to Japan — from cat cafés to graveyard eviction notices to the infamous Suicide Forest, where an estimated 100 people per year take their own lives — perhaps none is as little known, and curious, as “the evaporated people.”

Jesus was not born in a stable. On the meaning of NT Greek Kataluma.

Via Amy Rawe An Open Apology To Dolly Parton There’s a lot more to Dolly Parton than just a fabulous singer, songwriter and musician.

And here’s how it looks from Canada; Scott Gilmore writing for Maclean’s on Russia’s American coup “But it happened, moment by moment, until we woke up in a cold day in December and realized that Moscow had effectively installed the next president of the United States.

That sounds hyperbolic, doesn’t it? Even writing it I have to pause and stare at that sentence. But these are the facts: The CIA and over a dozen other U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia hacked into both the Republican and Democratic party computers. Senior Russian officials have admitted that they leaked the Democratic data to WikiLeaks. Those emails were then strategically published over the course of the presidential campaign. Why? A member of the House Intelligence Committee states there is ‘overwhelming evidence’ Russia’s goal was to elect Donald Trump.”

Now you can Fact-Check Donald Trump’s tweets.

Italian Fresh Cream Lemon Cake A light cake, often served in the morning with coffee; perfect for Christmas.

Posted in Elsewhere

Donne’s A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day

Saint Lucy’s day is December 13. This was, in the Julian calendar, the Winter solstice and consequently the shortest day of the year (and thus the darkest). It is also the point at which, astrologically speaking, the Sun entered the sign of the Goat (in the modern calendar, Capricorn operates between December 22, the day after the modern Winter solstice, and January 19). Saint Lucy is, more specifically, Lucia of Syracuse or Saint Lucia, She was a Christian martyr who died during the Diocletian Persecution c. 304 C.E. after a spurned suitor denounced Lucy as a Christian. Lucy (via the Latin form of her name Lucia) is cognate with Latin lux, or  light. In terms of both her various legends, one of which includes her eye being gouged out in an effort to force her to renounce Christianity. Saint Lucy is iconographically  associated with light and vision (and often, with a cup or platter on which she displays her gouged-out eyes).

Donne’s  “A Nocturne upon St. Lucy’s Day” describes the darkest part of the darkest day, hence the poem deals with the absence of light. It is also about transformation, in the sense of an alchemist trying to create something out of nothing, or something noble out of chaos, though here the transformation is in the opposite direction; the transformation of light to darkness.

In this poem Donne speaks in the persona of a lover. This is both a convention of his era, and a frequent practice of Donne’s who is sometimes clearly referring to his spouse, Ann More Donne, and other times his subject is not specific—and may not have been even for Donne himself. Critics have argued that the Lucy referred to in the title is both the saint, and an homage to his patron, Lucy the Countess of Bedford, for him he named a daughter and to whom he dedicated several poems. Others are equally certain that the “she” referenced as his beloved is Donne’s wife. Neither are mutually exclusive, and it might well be that both women were in his thoughts. We do not know the year Donne wrote the poem, which further complicates efforts towards biographic criticism.

I freely confess that the last stanza in particular makes me think Donne was writing about Ann More, and using St. Lucy Day (and night) as a vehicle for his mourning. Ann died August 15, 1617, in childbirth, delivering what would have been their twelfth child had the baby lived. She was thirty-three, and was survived by her spouse and seven of their children.

There are several motifs present that are familiar from Donne’s other Songs and Sonnets, including Donne as the model lover, one who has been transformed by his passion for his beloved, and metaphors drawn from the study of alchemy, the attempt, at its highest level, to transform a base metal like lead to gold.

I have modernized the spelling.

In this YouTube video you can hear Sir Richard Burton, probably the best reader of Donne I’ve every hard, read A Nocturne Upon St. Lucy’s Day.

John Donne – A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy’s Day by poetictouch

John Donne A Nocturnal Upon St. Lucy’s Day

1)The Catholic church’s traditional order of prayers in the early church included prayers at midnight called nocturnes or vigils, the night office, today is often called Matins
’Tis the year’s midnight, and it is the day’s,2)The Winter solstice is the midpoint of the year, the turning of the tide from the darkest night of the year towards the renewal of light with Spring. Donne is also writing at midnight.
Lucy’s, who scarce seven hours herself unmasks,
The Sun is spent, and now his flasks3)The stars are flasks; they were thought to store energy and light from the Sun
Send forth light squibs,4)Squibs were both small firecrackers and malfunctioning firecrackers, whose explosive force was less than expected no constant rays;
The world’s whole sap is sunk:
The general balm th’ hydroptique earth hath drunk,5)Current medical theory postulated that all life contained and generated a “general balm,” a life-giving and preserving essence, which, in wintertime, like sap in a tree, sinks. Hydroptic here means excessively thirsty, as people with dropsy were thought to be.
Whither,6)Typical of Donne, whither is serving multiple purposes. It can be read as both whither meaning where, to what place, and wither, to shrink or dry up. The balm has retreated to the Earth as sap does in winter. as to the beds-feet, life is shrunk,7)With to the beds-feet, Donne shifts his metaphors from sap and balm to an image of a person in bed; the beds-feet is the foot of the bed; this may mean both that the person who is in a bed, presumably dying, has his or her world shrunk to their bed. It may also be a reference to the way a corpse shrinks and withers, given the subsequent explicit reference to death.  
Dead and enterr’d; yet all these seem to laugh,
Compar’d with me, who am their Epitaph.

Study me then, you who shall lovers be
At the next world, that is, at the next spring;8)The Winter solstice marks the “death” of the world.
For I am every dead thing,
In whom Love wrought new alchemy.
For his art did express
A quintessence even from nothingness,9)A quintessence is literally the “fifth essence, derived from Medieval Latin quīnta essentia. In terms of alchemy, the fifth essence is the highest element, more pure than earth, air, fire and water, the other four, and the essence of life itself and of the heavenly bodies. Yes Luke, it’s very like the Force in Star Wars.
From dull privations, and lean emptiness;
He ruin’d me, and I am re-begot
Of absence, darkness, death: things which are not.10)Donne is himself thus the quintessence even from nothingness referred to in line 6.

All others, from all things, draw all that’s good,
Life, soul, form, spirit, whence they being have;
I, by Love’s limbec,11)A limbec (a shortened form of alembic) is a type of still used by alchemists; it is essnetially two vessels joined by a tube. Love is the alchemist who transformed Donne am the grave
Of all that’s nothing. Oft a flood
Have we two wept, and so12)With we two Donne shifts from examining himself to his relationship with is beloved.
Drown’d the whole world, us two; oft did we grow13)The reference to the two lovers having Drown’d the whole world sounds remarkably like ll. 14–20 of Donne’s “A Valediction: Of Weeping: So doth each tear
Which thee doth wear,
A globe, yea world, by that impression grow,
Till thy tears mix’d with mine do overflow
This world; by waters sent from thee, my heaven dissolved so.
O more than moon,
Draw not up seas to drown me in thy sphere,

To be two chaoses, when we did show
Care to aught else; and often absences14)Absences here also echoes Donne’s “A Valediction: Of Weeping”
Withdrew our souls, and made us carcasses.

But I am by her death15)I read this as a reference to Ann Donne’s death. (which word wrongs her)
Of the first nothing the elixir grown;
Were I a man, that I were one
I needs must know; I should prefer,
If I were any beast,
Some ends, some means; yea plants, yea stones detest,
And love; all, all some properties invest;16)Contemporary science of the day suggested that even rocks and plants experienced attraction and repulsion.
If I an ordinary nothing were,
As shadow, a light and body must be here.

But I am none; nor will my sun renew.17)I read this as my sun referring to Ann Donne, as well as a comment on Donne’s own dark emotional state.
You lovers, for whose sake the lesser sun
At this time to the Goat is run18)The lesser sun is the solar body; now entering the sign of Capricorn, the goat.
To fetch new lust, and give it you,
Enjoy your summer all;
Since she enjoys her long night’s festival,19)The she here is a problem for my reading, since it clearly refers to Lucy, and consequently both the saint, and Lucy Countess of Bedford.
Let me prepare towards her, and let me call
This hour her vigil, and her eve, since this
Both the year’s, and the day’s deep midnight is.20)And Donne ends much as he began, cycling back as the does the Sun.

References   [ + ]

Posted in Commentary, Poetry Tagged with:

Elsewhere for December 11, 2016

You should read this for 12/11/2016:
The social functions of humor, why Donald Trump isn’t funny, maybe you were wrong about the MacBook Pro, we’re all Muslim here, now, how are you, dinosaur feathers and ginger cookies.

Jason P. Sneed via Twitter 8/9/2026 on the social functions of humor, reposted here.

Ben Lovejoy from 9to5 Mac MacBook Pro Diary: I’m one week in, and it turns out my first impressions were wrong I think a lot of people’s first impressions of Apple’s new MacBook Pro are going to prove wrong. Kinda like when Apple released the iPod and people said “Who would buy this?” Or the iMac. Or the iPhone.

We’re All Muslim Now Change your Facebook religious descriptor to Muslim to make it harder to use Facebook to target Muslims—something some people are already doing by scanning FB profiles and then sending abusive posts.

Dinosaur tail trapped in amber sheds light on evolution of feathers Scroll down to see the photo of the actual piece of amber; really amazing. Also it explains so much about feral chickens.

This is what happens when Donald Trump attacks a private citizen on Twitter Now imagine what he’ll do with the full force of the Oval Office, the NSA, the CIA, the FBI and the Secret Service to do his bullying.

The right has its own version of political correctness. It’s just as stifling. “Political correctness has become a major bugaboo of the right in the past decade, a rallying cry against all that has gone wrong with liberalism and America. Conservative writers fill volumes complaining how political correctness stifles free expression and promotes bunk social theories about ‘power structures’ based on patriarchy, race and mass victimhood.”

Why haven’t we seen Donald Trump’s tax returns? Why hasn’t he divested? Maybe the Answer Is That He Can’t Divest Because he owes too much money to too many people—including millions to China.

The Best Music for Productivity? Silence What I’m taking away from this piece is the suggestion near the end to take a fifteen minute break wherein you just listen to music, really listen.

via Bon AppetitTriple-Ginger Cookies

Posted in Elsewhere

Jason P. Sneed on the Social Function of Humor

Jason P. Sneed on Twitter on 8/9/2016:

1. I wrote my PhD dissertation on the social function of humor (in literature & film) and here’s the thing about “just joking.”
2. You’re never “just joking.” Nobody is ever “just joking.” Humor is a social act that performs a social function (always).
3. To say humor is social act is to say it is always in social context; we don’t joke alone. Humor is a way we relate/interact with others.
4. Which is to say, humor is a way we construct identity – who we are in relation to others. We use humor to form groups…
5. …and to find our individual place in or out of those groups. In short, joking/humor is one tool by which we assimilate or alienate.
6. IOW, we use humor to bring people into – or keep them out of – our social groups. This is what humor *does.* What it’s for.
7. Consequently, how we use humor is tied up with ethics – who do we embrace, who do we shun, and how/why?
8. And the assimilating/alienating function of humor works not only only people but also on *ideas.* This is important.
9. This is why, e.g., racist “jokes” are bad. Not just because they serve to alienate certain people, but also because…
10. …they serve to assimilate the idea of racism (the idea of alienating people based on their race). And so we come to Trump
11. A racist joke sends a message to the in-group that racism is acceptable. (If you don’t find it acceptable, you’re in the out-group.)
12. The racist joke teller might say “just joking” — but this is a *defense* to the out-group. He doesn’t have to say this to the in-group.
13. This is why we’re never “just joking.” To the in-group, no defense of the joke is needed; the idea conveyed is accepted/acceptable.
14. So, when Trump jokes about assassination or armed revolt, he’s asking the in-group to assimilate/accept that idea. That’s what jokes do.
15. And when he says “just joking,” that’s a defense offered to the out-group who was never meant to assimilate the idea in the first place.
16. Indeed, circling back to the start, the joke *itself* is a way to define in-group and out-group, through assimilation & alienation.
17. If you’re willing to accept “just joking” as defense, you’re willing to enter in-group where idea conveyed by the joke is acceptable.
18. IOW, if “just joking” excuses racist jokes, then in-group has accepted idea of racism as part of being in-group.
19. Same goes for “jokes” about armed revolt or assassinating Hillary Clinton. They cannot be accepted as “just joking.”
20. Now, a big caveat: humor (like all language) is complicated and always a matter of interpretation. For example, we might have…
21. …racist humor that is, in fact, designed to alienate (rather than assimilate) the idea of racism. (Think satire or parody.)
22. But I think it’s pretty clear Trump was not engaging in some complex satirical form of humor. He was “just joking.” In the worst sense.
23. Bottom line: don’t accept “just joking” as excuse for what Trump said today. The in-group for that joke should be tiny. Like his hands.

Mr. Steed is an attorney (an appellate lawyer in Dallas, TX) and a reformed English Ph.D.

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Elsewhere for December 4, 2016

You should read this for 12/4/2016: Water not war, Pepper nuts, scraps of poetry and authenticity (or the lack thereof) online

Secretary of State contender Petraeus knowingly leaked secrets to his biographer and lied to FBI “Retired Army general David Petraeus, who stepped down as CIA chief amid the scandal of an extramarital affair and pleaded guilty to divulging classified information, has emerged as a top contender as secretary of State in the incoming Trump administration.”

Ursula Le Guin on the 2016 Election “In the atmosphere of fear, anger, and hatred, opposition too easily becomes division, fixed enmity. I’m looking for a place to stand, or a way to go, where the behavior of those I oppose will not control my behavior.”

Mark Peters muses in The Boston Globe about Slang — language at our most human And the online arrival of Green’s Dictionary of Slang.

Via The New Yorker, Dan Chiasson on Emily Dickinson’s Singular Scrap Poetry “On letters, envelopes, and chocolate wrappers, the poet wrote lines that transcend the printed page.” Thanks to Amherst College, you can see digital images of Dickinson’s “scraps” as she wrote them at the Emily Dickinson Archive.

President Obama’s final Rolling Stone interview, the day after election 2016.

From Gizmodo.com Reddit Is Tearing Itself Apart “For the past 11 years, an eternity in internet time, Reddit has touted itself—repeatedly, and loudly — as the place to have “authentic conversations” online. For a variety of reasons, that sentiment has always rang hollow. Now, Reddit, in its goal to be a laissez-faire haven of (relatively) free expression, has been overrun by nationalist trolls. Its staff of volunteer moderators is losing hope in the site’s future.”

NPR on Unlocking Dyslexia: A Special Series This is some of the best and most thoughtful coverage of dyslexia, its possible causes, coping mechanisms, and what it’s like to move through a sea of text with dyslexia as a pilot.

Via The Joy of Cooking, German pfefferneuse, “pepper nuts,” a traditional spiced cookie that many of us strongly associate with Christmas.

Posted in Elsewhere

Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol Serialized

Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol was first published on December 19, 1843. He had written it at a feverish pace for six weeks beginning it in October of that year and determined that it should be published in time for Christmas. The Morgan Library has the original manuscirpt.

The publication of A Christmas Carol was a pet project for Dickens, and it was popular immediately, if not lucrative. He soon took to the road to stage one-man shows; The New York Public Library still has the script he used as his prompt copy in his performances, complete with Dickens’ own annotations. In December of 2015 Neil Gaiman used that script for a live performance at NYPL, still available as a podcast.

Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is very much a Christmas tradition for me, ever since the first time I saw Patrick Stewart’s one-man version of it at UCLA. Stewart’s version was soon published on CD, and he subsequently starred in a video production.

While I am fond of Patrick Stewart’s version, especially the audio only one-man show, my all time favorite version of A Christmas Carol is the one starring George C. Scott as Scrooge. We discovered the George C. Scott version some Christmases ago, when it was featured on Hulu. We loved it, and watched it repeatedly, even long after Christmas was over and Hulu had removed it from the current streaming offerings; I located the video stram in the cache and we were able to watch it for another month or so. This version also includes memorable roles from David Warner as Bob Cratchit, and Roger Rees as the narrator and Scrooge’s nephew Fred Hollywell and Edward Woodward in an absolutely spot-on Ghost of Christmas Present.

There’s an excellent  annotated editon The Annotated A Christmas Carol edited and annotated by Michael Patrick Hearn and published by W. W. Norton. I can’t possibly equal it, but for a Christmas project this year, I’m annotating and published each of the five “staves,” complete with the illustrations that Dickens commissioned from artists and engraver John Leech. The annotations are the kinds of things I might mention or use in teaching Christmas Carol, and range from explaining occasional Victorian idioms, to recipes and historical notes.

Mostly, this light-hearted annotated version is meant to be fun, and to help more people discover a lovely story that, while rich with political commentary, is equally rich with hope and humor.

I’ll update this post in the successive weeks as I publish the next stave. I’m planning to publish the last one on Christmas Eve.

Stave I

Stave II

Stave III

Stave IV

Stave V

Posted in Commentary, Prose

Elsewhere for November 27, 2016

You should read this for 11/27/2016: Nazis for real, Black sea Medieval shipwrecks, Collectible Christmas ornaments to Make America Grate Again, and Mom’s Pumpkin Pie

‘Hail Trump!’: White Nationalists Salute the President Elect Stop it with the “alt right”and “White Nationalists” euphuisms; they’re Nazis. Call them Nazis. Don’t help them hide.

Preserved by the conditions deep below the Black sea, the ships hail from c. 13th century on. The condition of the ships is remarkable; there are hopes that the depth and absence of oxygen-producing bacteria may even preserved paper and fiber.

ThinkProgress will no longer describe racists as ‘alt-right’“You can learn everything you need to know about the “alt-right” by looking at the man who popularized its name. Credit goes to Richard Spencer, head of the white supremacist National Policy Institute (NPI), and one of the country’s leading contemporary advocates of ideological racism.”

Trump Make America Great Again Red Cap Collectible Ornament “There was a blue ornament, it was smarter than this one, had a lifetime of experience, supported trees of all colors and beliefs, and (get this) was loved by two million more people than this ornament but somehow this ornament is the one on Amazon.” Read the reviews and the comments.

The history of urbanization, 3700 BC – 2000 AD See cities appear on a world map in a clever animation of history.

Mom’s Pumpkin Pie This is probably the easiest possible pie recipe. Obtain (or make) pie shell. Measure and mix ingredients. Cook. Eat.

Posted in Elsewhere

Donne’s Meditation XVII

John Donne Meditation XVII from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624)1

The Devotions were written, for the most part, in December of 1623 when Donne was recovering from (and possibly still suffering from) a serious illness that began in the previous November. At the time, many in London were suffering and died from a mysterious illness that included high fevers and “spots” (possibly typhus). When he began writing the Devotions, Donne had been Dean of St. Paul’s for two years. The Devotions are a personal exploration of his sickness and recovery in the context of Christian humanism. The complete (and rarely used) title is Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and severall steps in my Sicknes.

They consist of 23 sequentially numbered sections, each of which opens with a “meditation” in which Donne explores an aspect of his illness, followed by an “expostulation” containing his reaction to his illness, much of it in the form of direct address to God, and concludes with a prayer. Donne’s illness was serious; he had little or no expectation of survival.The direct cause of his desire to write was his illness; he wrote during his illness. The Devotions are an example of a Protestant genre of the time in which the details of daily life were examined in a religious and spiritual context.

The work was registered at the Stationer’s Office in January of 1624 and published later that year, one of a handful of works published during Donne’s lifetime.

This post is concerned entirely with the Meditation portion of XVII, which follows.

XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris
Now this bell, tolling softly for another, says to me, Thou must die.2

Perchance, he for whom this bell tolls3 may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that body which is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member.4 And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated5 into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God’s hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another.

As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness. There was a contention as far as a suit6 (in which both piety and dignity, religion and estimation7, were mingled), which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of this bell that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is. The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute that this occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God. Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? but who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main8. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbors. Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it. No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction. If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current money, his treasure will not defray him9 as he travels. Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it. Another man may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another’s danger I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.


1 The spelling here has been modernized, and I’ve added paragraph breaks. The text is based on the edition by John Sparrow. Cambridge University Press, 1923: 96–98.

2 This is Donne’s own translation.

3 The bell is simultaneously the passing bell that tolls once for each year of a deceased person’s life, and the bell that rings to call the congregation to service, and the bell that rang (until silenced by the dissolution of the monasteries and religious orders under Henry VIII) to call to prayers during the day.

4 The Christian church is the head of all people, as well as a body composed of all members of that church (i.e. all Christians).

5Translated, from Latin trānslātus means to “carry across,” or transfer, both from one language to another or one place or another. In a Christian or spiritual context Donne alludes to the idea that souls are translated from one level or sphere to another. By this means, Donne constructs an elaborate metaphor wherein he is a single member of the Christian body, one volume or book that is translated by God.

6 That is controversy in the form of a law suit.

7 For Donne’s “estimation,” today we would say self-esteem.

8 Main here means “mainland.”

9 “Defray him,” or rather defray or cover his expenses.

A Meditation on Donne’s Meditation XVII

When Donne wrote this meditation, he was deeply concerned about his own mortality. He had lost his beloved wife Anne More Donne. They had lost children to early death. London was in the throes of a mysterious disease sometimes called “spotted fever,” marked by a rash and prolonged fevers, and often, death.

The central theme moves quickly from contemplation of his own mortality, to the idea that he is merely a part of the greater Christian body, the Christian “volume,” one leaf out of many.

There are two touchstones from this meditation that have been absorbed into general consciousness (thanks in no small part to Heminway’s novel For Whom The Bell Tolls:

No man is an island, entire of itself; … any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Aside from the Christian concept of memento mori, embodied in the idea that the bell tolling another’s death is a reminder of our own inevitable death, these passages have always been a reminder to me that we are all part of humanity. We are, as Donne put it earlier, leaves in the same volume. We are all “involved” in mankind, part of a single body; we are not islands, we are connected to each other. Thus, any man’s death, (or woman’s; I do think Donne very much included women in his man/mankind) diminishes all of us; we are made less by it.

Ultimately, for me, this meditation reminds me that we are all part of something larger, and by emphasizing our connection to each other, we are emphasizing our connections to something larger than our separate selves.

Posted in Commentary Tagged with: ,

Elsewhere for November 20, 2016

You should read this for 11/20/2016: Fake news, Poetry, Irish Speaking Truth To Power, Internment In our Future, and Cardamom

Obama used to be a law professor. This is key. . . . Trump walked into the Oval Office like a two-pump-chump freshman thinking it was syllabus day, and what he got was the first day of law school, and he hadn’t done the reading like everyone else had, and Professor Obama decided to put him in the hot seat.”

Senator Aodhán O’Riordáin to the Irish Seanad regarding the U.S. election: “America has just elected a fascist and the best thing that the good people in Ireland can do is to ring him up and ask him, is it OK to still bring the shamrock on Saint Patrick’s Day?”

Via BuzzFeed: Some Renegade Facebook Employees Form Task Force To Battle Fake News

A. E. Stallings for The Times Literary Supplement Why bother with poetry? “The pleasures of poetry are subversive, and perhaps always have been.”

From Sean Patrick Hughes What Now?“If insistence on decent treatment of all Americans makes me a liberal in the eyes of conservatives, then maybe we should take some time to reflect on who our modern conservatives actually are. The world is watching.”

Bernie Sanders Could Replace President Trump With Little-Known Loophole Are you paying attention? Are you reading carefully and critically?

Via The Washington Post and George Takei: They Interned my Family: Don’t Let Them Do It to Muslims “I came to see the internment as an assault not only upon an entire group of Americans, but upon the Constitution itself — how its guarantees of due process and equal protection had been decimated by forces of fear and prejudice unleashed by unscrupulous politicians.”

Via Epicurious: Orange Sweet Rolls (with a pinch of Cardamom!)

Posted in Elsewhere

Elsewhere for November 13, 2016

You should read this for 11/13/2016:


Ancient Greek mosaics revealed.This is old news, but more restoration has taken place. These are stunning. Go look.

Newly discovered cave etchings date from between 12,000 and 14,500 years ago. Beautiful images of animals, some of them to very large scale, discovered in a cave in the Basque town of Lekeitio.

Via Smithsonian Magazine: Canada Can’t Figure Out Why the Ocean Floor Is Beeping

Masha Gessen via The New York Review of Books Autocracy: Rules for Survival
“However well-intentioned, this talk assumes that Trump is prepared to find common ground with his many opponents, respect the institutions of government, and repudiate almost everything he has stood for during the campaign. In short, it is treating him as a ‘normal’ politician. There has until now been little evidence that he can be one . . . Trump is the first candidate in memory who ran not for president but for autocrat—and won.”

Neal Gabler on BillMoyers.com Farewell, America “Who knew that so many tens of millions of white Americans were thinking unconscionable things about their fellow Americans?”

Greek Chicken and Potatoes via Epicurious

Posted in Elsewhere